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Collaboration brings pediatric neuro program to suburbs


Hinsdale – A partnership between Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital is making it possible for suburban pediatric epilepsy patients to stay close to home while being monitored by top national experts.

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital recently opened a long-term epilepsy monitoring unit dedicated to pediatric patients. Staffed by pediatric nurses and pediatric physician specialists, the unit brings experts together from both hospitals who diagnose and treat some of the most challenging epilepsy cases. As patients are monitored at Adventist Hinsdale, their data is transmitted in real time to pediatric epileptologists at Comer Children’s Hospital.

“This collaboration with the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital confirms our commitment to providing university-level care to patients in their own backyard,” said David L. Crane, chief executive officer of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. “We are proud to offer these advanced neuroscience resources to the community.”

 

The pediatric epileptologists at Comer Children’s Hospital include Dr. Michael Kohrman, associate professor of pediatrics and neurology, and Dr. Abdul Mazin, assistant professor of pediatrics, both nationally recognized epilepsy experts.

“We are able to view the electrical activity of the brain as well as a video and sound recording. These are invaluable tools that let us identify the exact cause of the seizures and the best possible treatment,” Kohrman said. “For a lot of parents, it’s a relief not to have to travel far to get this level of monitoring.”

It certainly was a relief for Cristina King, whose 9-year-old daughter, Emma, was the program’s first patient. The Plainfield resident was able to eat dinner at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital with her siblings and both parents, allowing her to feel more comfortable during her overnight stay as she underwent electroencephalography (EEG) seizure monitoring. The non-invasive method uses multiple electrodes attached to the scalp to record the brain’s electrical activity.

“The entire experience was wonderful,” King said. “When we came in, Emma felt like a rock star. The whole staff in the pediatric unit was so excited, which made her enthusiastic. Being so close to home was a blessing for our family.”

 

At age 4, Emma was diagnosed with “absence” epilepsy. Absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures, cause a short loss of consciousness – just a few seconds – with few other symptoms. The patient, most often a child, typically interrupts an activity and stares blankly. Initially, Emma experienced three to four dozen episodes daily, but treatment and medication helped her become symptom-free. She undergoes overnight EEGs annually to monitor her condition; her most recent EEG on Feb. 24 at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital showed zero epileptic activity in her brain and she is now being weaned off of her anti-seizure medication.

 

Janet Barnum, RN, MSN, nurse manager of women and children’s services at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, is gratified to see the partnership come to fruition after years of planning.

 

“Research has shown the links between collaborative medical interactions and positive patient outcomes,” Barnum said.